Mythman's Greek Mythology Today

As told by Judith Hamilton


Eros & Psyche

Wedding of Eros & Psyche


Psyche fled into the night in search of her husband, she traveled far and wide in search for him. Meanwhile her husband had gone to Venus’ chamber to have his wound cared for, but as soon as she heard the story she left her him in his pain as she became even more overcome with jealousy.

She vowed to show Psyche what it felt like to bring down the wrath of a goddess. Psyche’s search was to no avail, she had not found her husband so she went to Venus herself. Venus would grant her her wish if she completed the task of separating a great quantity of the smallest seeds by night fall.

As she sat there alone she realized that this was an impossible task to complete. No one had heard Psyche’s prayers for they did not want to become an enemy of Venus. But the the tiniest of creatures felt sympathy for her. The ants began to sort the seeds for Psyche. All the seeds lay in ordered neat piles.

This is what Venus saw when she came. "Your work is by no means done" said Venus. She gave Psyche a piece of crust and bade her sleep on the ground as she left to her soft fragrant couch. The next morning, she devised another task for Psyche, this time a dangerous one.

There were sheep down near the riverbank with golden fleece. She was to fetch some fleece and bring it back to Venus. As she reached the river, she had the urge to hurl herself into it ending all her pains, but a voice bade her not to. The voice instructed her to wait till the sheep came out of the bushes toward the evening for the sheep were indeed very fierce.

She did as she was told and once the sheep left she gathered the fleece from the sharp briars and she carried it back to her cruel mistress.

Venus received it with an evil smile. Venus knew that Psyche could not have accomplished this alone and said that she must prove herself by obtaining a flask filled with water from the river Styx.

As she approached the waterfall, she realized that only a winged creature could reach it. This time her savior was an eagle, who poised with great wings beside her, seized the flask from her with his beak and brought it back to her full of the black water.

But Venus kept on. She sent Psyche with a box which she was to carry to the underworld and ask Persephone to fill with some of her beauty. Psyche found her guide in a tower on her path. It gave her careful directions on how to get to Persephone's palace.

All had happened as the her guide had told her and Persephone was willing to do Venus a favor, and Psyche, greatly encouraged, bore back the box.

The last trial was brought upon herself out of curiosity. She wished to see the beauty-charm in the box and perhaps use some herself for she must look beautiful if she was to see the God of Love again. She opened the box but nothing was to be found inside suddenly a deadly languor took possession of her as she fell into a heavy sleep.

At this point, Cupid stepped forward, Cupid was healed from his wound and had fled the palace by flying through the windows for Venus had locked him in his chamber.

Cupid picked Psyche up and wiped the sleep from her eyes and placed it into the box. Cupid told her to take the box to his mother and all would be fine.

To make sure Cupid flew up to Mount Olympus and spoke with Jupiter himself. Although Cupid had done Jupiter harm previously by making him turn into a bull and a swan, he agreed to help him.

Jupiter summoned all the gods, including Venus, and announced the marriage of Cupid and Psyche. Mercury brought Psyche to the palace of the gods, and Jupiter himself gave her the ambrosia to make her immortal.

Venus was in turn satisfied for with Psyche up in Heaven, she would not command attention from the men on earth.

So all came to a most happy end. Love and Soul (for that is what Psyche means) had sought and, after sore trials, found each other; that union could never be broken.

By Edith Hamilton


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